Watch Your Back! ), the hapless crook gets blackmailed into trying to pull off an impossi"/>
 

What's So Funny?

Donald E. Westlake, Author
Donald E. Westlake, Author . Warner $24.99 (359p) ISBN 978-0-446-58240-7
Hardcover - 359 pages - 978-1-84724-110-8
Hardcover - 199 pages - 978-0-446-59876-7
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-51178-0
Hardcover - 505 pages - 978-0-7862-9839-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 406 pages - 978-0-446-40115-9
Paperback - 359 pages - 978-1-84724-385-0
Hardcover - 978-1-84724-111-5
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In Westlake's diverting 13th John Dortmunder novel (after 2004's Watch Your Back! ), the hapless crook gets blackmailed into trying to pull off an impossible heist—stealing a gold chess set originally intended as a gift for the last czar of Russia, but picked up by some U.S. soldiers who were part of an anti-Soviet expeditionary force in 1919–1920 and now kept secure in a midtown Manhattan basement vault while various parties dispute its ownership. Dortmunder makes little progress in the book's first half, until he figures out a way to prompt an inquiry that leads to the chess set's being transported downtown—to a location that proves far from secure. As usual, Westlake provides amusing, at times dim-witted dialogue, particularly among the regulars at O.J.'s Bar & Grill on Amsterdam Avenue, and a cast of appealing if often inept cops and robbers. Not every loose end may be tied up, but the ironic resolution will leave both series fans and newcomers satisfied. (Apr.)

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